Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More on that Whacky Tropopause

I borrowed the graph above from Dr. Ryan Maue from Florida State University. Dr. Maue, is a bit skeptical about the impact of CO2 induced global warming. He seems like a pretty intelligent guy even though he is a Seminole instead of a Gator. Might be one of those mixed marriage things. Anyway, he does a lot of stuff studying tropical cyclones, hurricanes in my neck of the woods. The Accumulate Cyclone Energy (ACE) is one of the things he does. One ACE unit is one day of an average hurricane which is roughly 6x10^14 Watts/day. That is a crap load of energy as I have said before.

The Whacky Tropopause sucks up all that energy without missing a beat. 1998 was a high ACE year, about the hottest year ever according to all the temperature averages and all that is blamed on the humongous El Nino of that year. The TTS chart I used the other day, shows the Tropopause warmed a lot that year and dropped right back to near normal by the next year.

That impresses me, but I guess I am easily impressed sometimes. Since the Whacky Tropopause only has to lose an extra 4 to 8 Watts per meter squared to offset most or all of the CO2 doubling warming, I figured I would look at how well it does with hurricane energy. Of course all the units are all over the place so I will have to do some converting. Since I can go brain dead trying to use the Open Office spread sheet, I may be back to fix some screw ups. Feel free to do your own double checking.

First, the average hurricane energy from NASA is 6.0 x 10^14 Watts per day for an average area of 665 kilometers squared based on latent heat loss (rain). The area of the Earth is 510x10^6 kilometers squared which is 510x10^12 meters squared or 5.1x10^14 m^2. You can get that area from Wikipedia. So an average hurricane day results in a heat loss globally of about 1.2 W/m^2 per day. That is about 0.05 W/m^2 per hour due to the rainfall. Hurricanes also have huge cloud formations, which they are famous for, that reflect sunlight. The 665 kilometer average radius listed on the NASA website frequently asked questions gives an average area of 1.39x10^12 m^2. This is where I may screw up. The NASA estimate for average solar irradiation is 342 w/m^2. That is an Earth average and the hurricanes are mainly tropical where the irradiation is higher. The NASA energy budget cartoon also has a factor for cloud reflection already, but I am just going to figure what the average hurricane is reflecting and deal with that later. That gives me 4.75 x 10^14 W/m^2 for reflected energy with no time requirement since the clouds are there all the time the hurricane is churning. Taking that and dividing by the Earth's area I get about 1 W/m^2. I am using "about" since I have to make an approximation anyway.

While the clouds of the hurricane reflect a lot of sunlight, they don't get it all. This is one of the big questions in the climate debate, how much is the net radiation impact of the clouds. I have been through a few hurricanes and know it is pretty damn dark even in the day under those clouds. So my not too scientific wild ass guess is the clouds reflect about 50% of the Sun's energy over the course of the day and that should account a little for longwave radiation at night. (Before when I was working on the precipitation rule of thumb I used a lower number, but that was for general convection not hurricanes.) Since the NASA cartoon is a daily average (as I understand it anyway), that gives me a total hourly global hurricane impact of about 0.55 W/m^2. If I didn't screw up too bad, I should be able to just multiply the ACE number by 0.55 and get a general annual energy. Remember that 10% of that number is due to latent heat sucked up by the Tropopause. (I know somebody else has already done this, but I like to exercise my brain from time to time.)

That average global ACE is about 1200 based on Dr. Ryan's graph. That is annual total of daily energy and I am working in hours now, so hourly the ACE is 50. If all that is right, 27.5 W/m2 is the average total contribution of negative feed back by hurricanes per year (on an hourly basis), with 2.75 W/m2 the latent portion. Both of these numbers should be included as part of the energy budget under cloud reflection and latent heat.

Hurricane ACE varies. From Dr. Ryan's graph, 1998 was a big year at about 2200 which would be 92 in hourly form for a total of 50 W/m2. Ten percent of that is 5 W/m2 which contributed somewhat to the temperature increase of the Tropopause.

I am going to stop here a second. Looking at the two graphs, ACE seems to follow temperature only on the peak years. If you look at the surface temperature, ACE follows temperature more closely. That makes sense, because you would expect warmer temperatures to create more hurricanes. The only rub is that ACE has dropped pretty good since 2006. That makes me go Hmmm. Also you should note that my average of ACE, 1200, is more like the bottom of the ACE than average. The reason I used the 1200 is because I am comparing ACE to the Tropopause. Most of the temperature bumps in the TTS temperature are the big hurricane years. You can't see it because the TTS graph I stole, er borrowed, doesn't have a year scale. The big up near the middle is 1998 and the fatter hump to the left is around 1993. The big hump on the right is 2010, so 2006 ACE impact is lost in the noise before the last hump. That means there is no direct correlation, though the 1993 and 1998 tend to indicate that hurricanes may be a player. I just can't tell to what degree. I am going to try and overlay the TTS on the ACE graph so you can see it better. That should be interesting because the computer I am using likes to fight me doing that kinda stuff.

To be Continued..... Okay, that's not happening today. The dits on the TTS graph are one year with the right side 2011 and the middle up at 1998. Here is a link to the RSS website so you can look at it better. Part of the problem is the TTS is not really the Tropopause. It includes a good deal of the upper troposphere and the lower stratosphere. So the tropopause is in there, but there is a lot of other noise. There is a graph showing the weighting of the TTS graph on the RSS link. I really need to tweak the weighting for the tropics or average the TTS and TLS channels to hone in better on the tropical Tropopause. Eyeballing the average of the TTS and TLS, 1993 is weird. There seems to be top down warming while in 1998 it looks like bottom up warming like I would expect. That may mean that the Tropopause can suck up energy better than I expected or that the MSU data sucks. I have to assume that the MSU data is not too suckie or I may tick those guys off.

BTW, while I am not into the whole back radiation thing, the Tropopause is cooler than the surface and the Stratosphere. So there is real "back radiation" from the Stratosphere to the Tropopause and upper troposphere that obeys the laws of thermodynamics without the fancy back radiation crap. That is consistent with my goofy Tropopause Sink theory. I will get into the radiation spectrum later to show the Picture Window, that longwave radiation above and below 14.7 micron sees (14.7 microns is the main CO2 impacted radiation wave length) in the area of the Tropopause. This of course flies in the face of the general theory that the upper troposphere warms first. Since I haven't Tom Sawyered anyone into taking this mess over yet, I have a few more things to work on before I can start pulling it all together.

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